No other city has a long history as Delhi, the High Court said here today, as it pulled up the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) over its failure to maintain and preserve the historic Tughlakabad Fort and protect it from illegal encroachment.
“No other city including Bombay (Mumbai) and Kolkata has so long a history as Delhi has, and it needs to be protected by the authorities concerned for the future generation of this country,” a bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Ashutosh Kumar said.
“Over a period of time, the place was encroached upon and rampant illegal construction carried out by many people,” it said, adding that “no construction of any nature whatsoever, is allowed to be undertaken in this area by anybody. They (historic sites) are the pride of Indians and places of public visit.”
Taking a strong note of the inability expressed by ASI to stop encroachments, the court said it would be better to demolish the fort.
Te fort has been declared a protected monument and hence it was the legal as well as ethical obligation of the concerned authorities to protect this heritage site and maintain it properly, it said.
The court was hearing pleas by local resident S N Bhardwaj and ‘Gram Vikas Sangathan’ over alleged inaction of ASI to protect, maintain and preserve the Tughlakabad Fort.
According to the petitioners, various illegal occupants have entered the fort premises and constructed their houses with a view to grab the government land for dwelling purposes.
The court was told that the fort was likely to be completely ruined, causing national loss to ancient Indian heritage and its composite culture.
“The idea to protect the history is to improve tourism as no other city has so many historical buildings like Delhi has. So efforts should be made to attract tourists and give them a good account of our past and glory of the people of India as a message to the other countries and territories,” the court observed.